Natural products Bioactivity Analysis of the Tanzanian Herbal Extracts Derived from the Shrub Myrica salicifolia

Robin SB Williams (primary)
Biological Sciences
Royal Holloway University of London
Melanie-Jayne R Howes (secondary)
Natural Capital and Plant Health
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew


Traditional medicines, derived from indigenous plants, play importance roles in many developing nations, providing affordable, accessible and culturally acceptable medicinal approaches. In Tanzania, extracts of Myrica salicifolia are widely used for the treatment of infection relating to multiple conditions, yet our understanding of the molecular activities of these extracts are limited. The project will provide cross disciplinary research, with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, providing natural products chemistry analysis of M. salcifolia extracts, and Royal Holloway providing cell and molecular biology analysis to define bioactive component mechanism. The project will thus provide the first insight to molecular effects of this extract.


Makule, Kraus, Guido Jürgenliemk, Heilmann & Wiesnetth [2018] Dioic acid glycosides,
tannins and methylated ellagic acid glycosides from Morella salicifolia bark. Phytochemistry Letters, 28, 76-83

Makule, Schmidt, Heilmann & Kraus [2017] Diarylheptanoid Glycosides of Morella salicifolia
Bark. Molecules, 22, 2266

Schaf, Damstra-Oddy & Williams [2019] Dictyostelium discoideum as a pharmacological model system to study the mechanisms of medicinal drugs and natural products. Int. J. Dev Biol. 63: 541 – 550

Warren, Dooves, Lugarà, Damstra-Oddy, Schaf, Heine, Walker, & Williams [2020] Decanoic acid inhibits mTORC1 activity independent of glucose and insulin signalling, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science [PNAS], 117,38, 23617-23625,

Cocorocchio, Baldwin, Stewart, Kim, Harwood, Thompson, Andrews & Williams [2018] Curcumin and derivatives function through protein phosphatase 2A and presenilin orthologues in Dictyostelium discoideum. Disease Models and Mechanisms. 29;11[1]

Molecules, cells and industrial biotechnology
Area of Biology
Cell BiologyChemical Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryBioinformaticsChemistryGeneticsImage ProcessingMathematics / StatisticsMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologyMolecular BiologySimulation / Modelling